Flag Day is June 14 — specifically, that’s the day the Continental Congress in 1777 adopted the design of the United States flag — and while it’s tempting to go all-out in celebration, it might be worthwhile to brush up on flag etiquette as well.
The Library of Congress said that while the old George Washington-Betsy Ross story of the flag’s design is probably a myth, the Philadelphia seamstress did sew many early American flags. Flag Day was first federally recognized in 1916, and the observation was signed into law in 1949.
There have been 27 official designs, the library said, owing to the addition of states over the years. The last change to the flag came July 4, 1960, with the addition of Hawaii as a state — and the 50th star.
The U.S. Flag Code has plenty of rules about how and when the flag can and should be displayed. Many of them have been followed so routinely over the years that breaking them would seem weird — of course the union of stars goes on the upper left—but a few of the prohibitions would seem to cover some widely accepted practices.
For one thing, the flag should not be displayed at night unless it’s illuminated. And it should be taken in during inclement weather unless it’s an all-weather flag.
“The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way,” according to the code, which would seem to leave out car antennas.
And, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.”
That means no U.S. flag T-shirts (in the original red, white, and blue or other color schemes), no U.S. flag shorts, no U.S. flag bathing suits, no U.S. flag pillow covers, no U.S. flag bedsheets, and no U.S. flag bandanas.
All of which — you probably guessed — can be found on Amazon. Celebrate responsibly!
Feature image courtesy Lucas Sankey
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